Well-known community leader Narima Dela Cruz, the current president of the Filipino Canadian National Congress (FCNC), is joining the fray and will run as councillor in the October 15 Surrey municipal polls.
This is Dela Cruz's third election try and she will face fellow Filipino, Ramon Bandong.
"The more is better. Yes, the community needs that, definitely. We need representation," Dela Cruz stressed. "We don’t have a representative so it’s not diverse. It’s about time a diverse team or group of elected leaders be there at city hall."
Dela Cruz said it took some time for her to decide because of her commitments to the FCNC, a national group of Filipino leaders who advocate for Filipino immigrants.
But she said she will have to resign from the FCNC if she wins in the municipal polls.
Surrey Member of Parliament Ken Hardy endorsed Dela Cruz's candidacy and said she will bring the voice of respect and experience to the city council.
"Narima has exquisitely high-placed friends in this country so when it comes time to present Surrey to the federal government, she has friends there who will listen and honor what she has to say and respond accordingly," Hardy pointed out.
Bandong, who was first to declare his bid in the city council as part of the Surrey Forward slate, welcomed Dela Cruz’s candidacy.
"The Filipino community in Surrey is so big. If there’s two of us that end up being there, amazing," Bandong said. "I welcome it because it will help her and it will help us, too. It’s collaborative, not antagonistic."
Bandong is running with popular mayoralty candidate Jinny Sims, a former Member of Parliament, Member of the Legislative Assembly and former president of the B.C. Teachers Federation,
Sims, who has endorsed Dela Cruz before, said she only fielded seven candidates for the eight city council seats that are up for grabs.
"It should not be a competition. Let the people vote. After the people have voted for our slate, they have a free choice as to who they vote for their 8th," Sims explained.
Community leaders called on their kababayan in Surrey to make sure they cast their vote this October so that Filipinos will have a chance of winning two seats in the council.
"If more Filipinos voted by either 10% or 15%, we have a chance to have more representation at City Hall this year," Pinoy Pride Vancouver Society Director Gary Lising said.
At least 35 candidates are vying for just eight city council seats in Surrey. Advance voting will be held on October 5, 8, 9, and 12.